Why Love Made Me Quit Matchmaking

Being a matchmaker is an emotionally taxing business. We get a bad wrap. There are negative online reviews and a constant stream of calls from clients that berate you for not making their dreams come true.  It is an intangible business, yet, the weight of your client’s romantic world lays on your shoulders. Like the Atlas of love lives.

I have been in the industry for eight years. The thing is, when people pay over a thousand dollars to find their match, their standards spiral out of control. I have always said “If you want the perfect partner, you must be a mirror of that person” Unfortunately, this is not a concept that most clients of matchmakers can wrap their heads around. Case in point, I received an email today that read:

I am  looking for a marriage as
soon as possible for the life time. I am not a casual hooker. I am
real person who want to marry with those girl/lady who will be ages in
between 18 to 35 years old. She must be belong from the Europe, North
America, Australia, New Zealand, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Iceland and
Bermuda. She should be financially well settle. I shall relocate to her country
.

WELL, at least he is willing to relocate. However, his grammar sucks.

That’s just an application, but this is what happens after you set up a date:

Manners: 10 mins late, didn’t text, didn’t call, didn’t apologize (works 4-5 blocks away!). Table manners really so so. I would NOT take her to a client dinner. Personality: shy at the beginning, definitely not an extrovert. Embarrassed about her super short marriage, which she brought up herself, could have opened up a little, trying to show a minimum of ability to communicate emotions and depth, she just brushed over it. As a guy, I hear her bringing it up – which was not necessary – and it’s a red flag. When she doesn’t explain why it was so short, then it becomes a bigger red flag. Sleepy, yawning since the moment she sat down (so it wasn’t me) Intellect: bright and educated, but not genuinely humble about it. She was a bit boastful about her position and education, was a bit taken by surprise when she realized I am in financial services like her, which means I know exactly what she does and where she stands (practically, a glorified admin, nothing to boast about at her age) Travel: lots of talking about travel, but really not much travel done. Now that I remember, I had “smelled this” in her profile. Looks: piece of red pepper in her lower teeth, fake eye lashes going in all directions, her hair was ½ held up by a clasp and, 1/2 falling off on the sides (not planned), she could use a manicure, overall appearance and preparation to meet me was shameful. Old and cheap long sleeve sweater, my junior staff dresses better at the office. On date 1, I was hoping she would make much more effort. Seriously, not presentable in my circle of friends, “too Berkeley”, unclassy, unsophisticated, not put together, disastrous. Good luck.

 Body is average/below average, the little that could be seen of her knees / thighs showed she’s hairy and not taken care of. Significant skin damage, I don’t remember her age but she’s at least 36 and shows more. Deal breaker: lack of kindness.

 Asked me if I like dogs, I responded I do and had a dog, she asked what happened, I told her it was stolen by one of my ex-es, she couldn’t’ stop chuckling, I can see she tried to contain it, but her smile wouldn’t stop. Unacceptable. Dealbreaker: She was running me through the “Asian gold digger” interview, a process to ask questions / make comments to elicit answers to assess financial means. Good luck with her in the future. Deal breaker: “I can never travel more than 2 weeks, I would miss my dog too much”

This was the nail in the coffin for me. I can no longer deal with the judgment, objectification, and down-right hatred and blame that is inflicted on matchmakers who genuinely want to help people. How can people be so hard on one another? After all, we’re all people putting forth the effort to find someone to love!

I have enjoyed many successes, and seeing the beaming faces of my many married couples, their growing lives, their children-It makes it all worthwhile. I know that my work as a matchmaker has brought many people happiness, hope, and lives they thought could not possibly exist. The happiness and pride I feel in that is immeasurable-but it came at a cost. It takes so much out of you emotionally. There are nights that you can’t sleep because you know someone is reeling from a bad date, or the fact that, maybe, they are probably never find love because they are too damaged to open their heart to it.

My point is this: Love is not perfect. It is gritty. You have to be willing to shed your skin, and accept the fact that life as you know it will change when you bring another person into it. You have to be so vulnerable that getting hurt is less of a cost than falling truly in love. That the pain of being broken hearted can teach you things about yourself you never realized and can make you a better person. Love is inspiring. Heartbreak is inspiring. You will feel both sides whether or not you stay together or not. Falling in love is facing your fears, facing your past, and knowing what you need to do right this time. For you. For your partner. A matchmaker cannot do that for you.

Now, I am not saying that I have been the best at following my own advice. I have my share of relationships that did not work out in the end. But I DID learn more about myself and about how relationships work in the process. I don’t hate my exes, hell, I had my part in every failed relationship I have under my belt. Now, you can have a matchmaker, and we are great at searching high and low for someone we think will be a goof fit for you. Sort of like the room mate that finds your car keys on the coffee table after you have been searching for hours.

Just like I have my part in failed relationships, single people also have their individual responsibilities in finding a happy relationship…

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your partner and look after their needs as well as your own. Remember that fun and physical intimacy are as vitally important to your relationship as financial security, work obligations, the way the house is kept, what you can agree on for dinner. Trust, reliability, and a responsibility to one another’s needs is paramount. You cannot expect perfection, or that there is one person who will come into your life ready-made to fit into your life as you currently experience it. Look forward to the excitement of change. Anticipate the love of someone who appreciates that you make room in your life for them. Embrace the fact that sometimes things will be uncomfortable, uncertain, and that sometimes your partner will fall short. Remember though, if you let the right one in, you will have support, love, and passion to come home to.

The Perils of Online Dating

The Perils of Online Dating.

The Perils of Online Dating

The perils of online dating

When I was 18 years old, naive, and reeling from breaking up with my high school “sweetheart”, I decided to hit the information super highway for love. I started chatting online with some righteous babes right away and quickly became addicted to the plethora of young available guys prowling the net. I spent countless evenings exchanging flirty banter, taking the perfect self portrait on my webcam, and then one fateful night I found him.

His screen name was Tahoebro78 and he was oh so dreamy. Heregaled me with tales of road tripping across the U.S. followingPhish tours and breaking his leg rock climbing.After chatting online with him for 2 days we set up a day to meet up and spent the remainder of that evening talking on the phone. I was smitten. I was ready to meet my future husband.

I had never been on a blind date before and I was so nervous that I spent the entire day changing my outfit, curling and re-curling my hair. At 6:00 I finally had chosen the perfect outfit. A cotton candy pink zip up sweater, light blue flare bottom jeans, and white and pink converse. I sprayed myself down for the 50th time with Tommy Girl Perfume and hid in my room until the door bell rang at 6:15. I answered the door and there he was. Every bit as gorgeous as I had pictured in my mind. He was sweet and boyish with thick chin length blond hair tucked behind his ears and wore a thrift store sweater and corduroy pants. We exchanged an awkward hug and I am positive that I giggled some nonsense about leaving before he had to meet my Dad.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the ride over to the game park where we were to race go-carts, but the conversation went smooth and easy like the green hit off a freshly packed water bong. We laughed together and sang along to the soundtrack of The Grateful Dead playing on the cassette player that sat between us on the center console of his shiny Super Wagoneer.

As we pulled into the parking lot he playfully mentioned that he was actually quite competitive and I had better prepare myself to be left in the dust. Little did I know that in mere moments I would be eating his words.

Being the perfect gentleman that he had turned out to be, he told me to wait in the car so that he could come around and open the door for me. He grabbed my hand and kissed me on the cheek as I hopped out into the giant gravel parking lot of the game park. We linked hands and began to walk up to the entrance when he turned to me and asked…

“Wanna race?”

He could have asked me if I wanted to do The Worm over hot coals and I would have acquiesced if it meant he would fall in love with me.

Since it had been a good 10 years since I had last sprinted full throttle I thought that this very moment was as good as any to take it up again. I looked into his dreamy blue eyes and accepted his challenge. Before the words could leave my lips he was in a full on sprint with a good 5 yard lead. I took off behind him doing my best to keep up. My mind was racing along with my legs and I’m thinking:You know, this is kind of ridiculous. What kind of guy challenges his date to a race? He’s totally kicking my ass too. Oh my god…I hope I don’t have pit stains after this. 

Pit stains would be the least of my worries. As my body careened onward I could feel the weight of my shoulders pulling me down. Picture a duck with its wings tucked back, gaining speed, neck craned out into the universe, propelling itself faster and faster before it’s grand ascendance. That was me, but there would be no grand ascendance into the horizon.

Fortunately, Mr. Granola was so far ahead of me he had no idea that there was such a spectacle going on behind him. Feeling a bit of relief that he was completely oblivious to me, I began to recover my stride when the unthinkable occurred. I could feel my pristine white and pink Converse One-Star make it’s great escape from my right foot. There was nothing I could do to compete with the force of my body’s increasing speed in conjunction with the betrayal of my footwear.

I was going DOWN. 

I slid into the asphalt like it was a Slip n’ Slide. The all too familiar sting of gravel infiltrating my palms brought me back to my childhood, and that really isn’t ever a fun place for my mind to wander. It took me a moment to collect my thoughts and take inventory of what had just transpired. When I gathered the courage to look up, Mr. Granola was charging up the steps doing his best Rocky Balboa impersonation. He looked behind him as he reached the top of the steps, arms still pumping in the air when the Security Guard tapped him on the shoulder and pointed across the vast parking lot at me. I was still on the ground waiting for the universe to do me a solid and swallow me whole.

Mr. Granola rushed back over and peeled me up from the pavement and hugged me. It was then that I looked down and noticed that my clothing was streaked with asphalt and my jeans were ripped at the knee exposing a gnarly glistening strawberry. I looked like I had just been run over by an 18 wheeler. Attractive look for a first date, no?

In retrospect, I question his chivalry because he didn’t offer to drive me back home to change. I’m a trooper though and I made a weak joke about how he would look after I kicked his as on the go-cart track. He ended up pummeling me in that department as well. So much for a pity win! Competitive indeed, no lie.

So I suppose at this point, you may be wondering what came to be of Mr. Granola and me. Well, let’s just say that it all ended in a park very late at night after copious amounts of weed had been spliffedand a promise that I wouldn’t get any diseases from allowing him to fondle my nether regions.

There are some real charmers wandering around the internetz.

Cauliflower and Quinoa: A Memoir

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. When I was four years old my pediatrician diagnosed me with childhood obesity, explaining to my mother that when it came to hunger I didn’t have an “off switch”. In 1988 I was the youngest child in my town to be enrolled in Jenny Craig. Good times!  In grade school I tried Slim Fast, Deal-A-Meal (Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons videos and all!), and Pritikin (BARF!) to name a few. Oh, then there was that time when I was eight that my mom started playing one of those subliminal message cassette tapes while I slept. I woke up to the sound of ocean waves, freaked the fuck out, and ran from room to room in hysterics until my mom grabbed hold of me; So yeah, that one was a miss too.

Hamming it up on the way to camp in 1995! Actively getting punked, but I was asking for it in that hat, obvs.

Hamming it up on the way to camp in 1995! Actively getting punked, but I was asking for it in that hat, obvs.

Of course, I  was teased mercilessly throughout grade school and Junior High (rode the Phen Fen train in 8th grade), but by high school the teasing subsided.  I had lots of good friends, some cute boyfriends, and I was pretty much as at peace with my body as a teenage girl can be. I would avoid eating chips, mayo,and fried food. I took up kick boxing, and started running at the track on a pretty regular basis. This was the only “diet” that I actually could stick to and not feel like an outcast.

My senior year of high school I stopped my three year long diet and exercise routine that had kept the bulge at bay to the tune of 200 lbs… I ballooned to 260 lbs in 4 months. When I got my senior pictures back from the photographer I was so disgusted that I decided not to purchase any of them. That summer, two days before my 18th birthday, I had gastric bypass surgery. Carney Wilson and I had the same surgeon. We’re like blood sisters for weight loss surgery or something.

Junior year Prom 1999. I love the back drop. Rainbows and mushrooms that look A LOT like penises.

Junior year Prom 1999. I love the back drop. Rainbows and mushrooms that look A LOT like penises.

There are many people out there that don’t understand obesity and think that people who are obese are perpetually lazy gluttons. There are obese people out there who go to insane lengths to lose weight and do it on their own. BRAVO. There are many people out there who misuse weight loss surgery as an instant fix to their battle with obesity. There are a lot of people out there like me who just wanted a way to be dealt a different hand.My decision had less to do with wanting to be skinny, and more to do with the fact that I had a lifelong battle with obesity and have a family history of diabetes and heart disease. Both of my grandparents on my father’s side died of pancreatic cancer. My grandfather on my mother’s side had heart disease AND diabetes, had a heart transplant, and ultimately passed away as a result of the combination of the two.

My obesity had never held me back socially, but I still never felt like a normal person; to not feel like everyone is judging you when you are eating, to go to the mall and find something that fit, to not have the inseam of my shorts look like they were being eaten by my vajay every ten paces! You know what I’m talkin’ about, ladies.

A year and a half after surgery I had dropped over 130 lbs. Funny, the shape of your figure doesn’t change all that much after you lose that much weight! My body by all means wasn’t perfect, but I could see my collar bone and the outline of my ribs when I inhaled for the first time since I was three. I could walk into a room and people would compliment me on how good I looked. Sometimes I was even the prettiest girl in the room!  I became more confident and less critical of my body, but my sense of self worth was still at about a 5 on a scale of 1-10. I’ll spare the details of my 20’s, but my choices forced me to learn to love and value myself. Isn’t that what your 20’s are for?

Halloween 2002. A perfect little angel.

Halloween 2002. A perfect little angel.

My weight has  fluctuated in the 12 years that have passed since having surgery. I have gained, then lost, then gained about 40lbs back from my lowest post-surgery weight. I have, until about 5 months ago, felt fine about my body. I am at peace with the fact that I won’t ever look perfect in a bikini.But then something happened that I hadn’t experienced since before I had surgery:

*Queue tiny violins*

I couldn’t find anything in my giant heap of clothes that I felt looked good on me. It was taking me forever to get ready because I just didn’t want to walk out the door feeling like a fat ass. I normally LOVE getting dressed. But on this particular day my pants were heckling me. My button up shirts just didn’t even want anything to do with me. I was pissed off that nothing I put on made me feel like I was ready to greet the world and that I felt like I had officially “let myself go”. Again.

Let it be said that I am the first person to say that being thin isn’t the key to happiness, loving yourself IS, and on this particular day-and the days to follow-my brain was the anti-cheerleader.

February 2013. I can't imagine how I've put on all this weight!

February 2013. I can’t imagine how I’ve put on all this weight!

Full disclosure, I’m a natural born procrastislacker. It has taken me up to now (three weeks ago to be precise) to get back in control of my weight. I’m trying REALLY hard to find an exercise routine that I like. I busted out the bullet juicer my mother-in-law bought me for Christmas. I’m officially one of those people who slurps up spinach, kale, and flax seed through a straw and says “OMGTHISISSOOOOGOOOOOD”. My cheese intake is down 95% and I actually use my yoga ball. Good for me.

The thing is, do I think I’ll stick with it? I feel pretty invested at this point. I don’t feel entirely deprived, but last night I almost murdered my television when a deep dish pizza commercial came on. Instead of ordering it I ate a piece of string cheese and went to bed. I haven’t set a goal because that feels like too much pressure. I want to have the piece of mind that I am making healthier choices.  I don’t want to feel like I have to pretend that I’m searching for something in my purse when I stop halfway up the hill by my house because I’m winded-that didn’t happen the other day and I felt like Rocky. Progress, people, progress…

This post actually started because I was inspired to eat cauliflower for lunch today after an epic Facebook thread about a friend’s relentless disdain for this delicious, versatile veggie. I’ve drastically changed my eating habits and have proven to make some damn good healthy recipes in the mean time.  I’m excited to share them with anyone who loves good food as much as I do and still wants to fit into their skinny jeans sans muffin top. If you have read this far, you only deserve to be rewarded, so here you go:

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

1 head or 1 bag frozen Cauliflower chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 ½ tbsp. curry spice mix (recipe follows)

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp chopped raw almonds

¼ water

1 tsp chopped cilantro (optional)

1 lime wedge

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Steam or thaw cauliflower until al dente. In a 10” nonstick skillet on medium high heat lightly toast almonds. Add spice mixture and stir until fragrant, add cauliflower and raisins and continue to sauté. When spice mixture begins to dry add water and ½ tsp kosher salt. When water evaporates completely stir in cilantro and transfer to a small baking dish. Roast uncovered until just brown on top, about 10 minutes.

Serve with Creamy Minty Quinoa and garnish with lime and fresh mint.

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side.

Creamy Minty Quinoa

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 tbsp nonfat greek yogurt

½ tsp fresh mint

Salt to taste

Mix together ingredients in a medium bowl.

IMG_3525[1]

Indian Spice Mix

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp cumin seed

1 tsp fennel seed

½ teaspoon whole coriander

½ tsp turmeric

1/8tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)

Blend ingredients in a spice grinder and store in a small airtight container. Dry toast before using.

Packing!

Packing!

#PerksofDatingMe

Last night, scrolling through my Twitter feed I noticed a few tongue-in-cheek posts to the #perksofdatingme trend. While some of them made me straight L-O-L, I noticed a disturbing amount of women posting legitimate reasons why men will find dating them awesome and it made me cringe.  I found myself beginning to reply to many of these women and quickly ran out of character space. Oh, Twitter! 

You know how I love lists and bullet points, so I thought it better to compose a list of the most common reasons women posted why they should be your next GFF with some healthier alternatives that will actually make you a better, happier girlfriend.

1.) #PerksofDatingMe-I love sports, and video games, and dirt, cuz I’m totally just like a guy #FORREALZ

You don’t have to have all the same interests of a guy that you want to date. You have a long road ahead of you if your feel like you have to embrace all of your partner’s hobbies and interests in order to keep him pining for you. Having separate interests is really healthy because you have time to miss each other and new things to talk about. Trust me, my wonderful husband plays D&D every Wednesday and I’d sooner run a marathon than roll a D6. I take that night to catch up with my own friends or do something that I like to do that he doesn’t; like eat sushi and watch Girls.

2.) #PerksofDatingMe-You never have to take me on a date or spend money on me cuz I am just happy to be with you!

Really? You’re content to be with someone that decided to ask you out because they don’t have to put any work into the relationship? Have fun with THAT. Any self respecting woman knows that she is bringing a lot to the table and should never settle for a man that can’t be bothered to do the same.

3.) #PerksofDating me-I care about your feelings more than mine so I’ll always put you before myself

This is called co-dependence. The other C word. You have to recognize that being a good partner doesn’t mean sacrificing your own feelings to make the other person happy. Too many women fall into this trap. When a man loves you he will be willing to meet you half way and compromise to make sure that you are happy too. That’s  love.

I also don’t take this whole trend too seriously and thank god these people didn’t either! Here is a sample of my favorites:

#perksofdatingme I can differentiate between their, there, and they’re

#PerksOfDatingMe I can out drink you… so you will never be the most embarrassing person at the party.

 #PerksOfDatingMe I will show you off to the world like this:
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One other tip before I go! Instead of posting why people should date you online, let The Real Matchmakers do the work for you! TheRealMatchmaker.com

Valentine’s Day:No Couples Allowed

Valentine’s Day. It’s impending. Le Sigh. Personally, as a matchmaker, I dread it. I love giving pep talks and helping people make sense of why they are single, but jeez V-Day! Why you gotta be so rude to single people?!

Yeah, being single is tough sometimes. Seeing all those online dating commercials and cheesy jewelry adds on television only makes you want to give that chubby, flying, arrow casting cherub we call Cupid a big fat middle finger. What I hate about Valentine’s Day advertising is that it’s designed to make single people feel like they can only celebrate if they have a sweetheart. There is nothing worse than capitalizing on people’s heartache.

In that spirit, I wanted to give my cherished singles community a reason to celebrate… Enjoy not having to scramble to get a reservation and pay double for a fancy-pants dinner! Enjoy not getting a tacky stuffed animal, silk boxers, chocolate covered cherries, or worse, a heart shaped pendant and earring set! Dudes! Enjoy not having to pack yourself into a movie theater to watch the latest Zach Efron      rom-com! Ladies! Enjoy not having to drop a load of money to get plucked, waxed, painted, and stuffed into control top pantyhose and stilettos!!

Make this Valentine’s Day a celebration of everything you enjoy about being single. Throw a pajama party with your girlfriends. Go to a sports bar and have beers and wings with the guys. If you have a widowed grandparent, take them out for dessert and coffee. Throw a Love Gone Loco movie night with friends and watch Fatal Attraction, What’s Love Got to do with it, Fear, or The Crush. Go do this: http://sf.funcheap.com/pillow-fight-san-francisco/. Whatever you choose to do, don’t stay at home feeling sorry for yourself.

Don't be this person on Valentine's Day.

Don’t be this person on Valentine’s Day.

Being single should be fun. It should be a positive experience. Use this time of your life to meet as many people as possible; when you are single you can re-discover yourself and what kind of person you really want to bring into your life. If you really are down on being alone and frustrated that online dating is a crapshoot, that many dating services are too damn expensive, and that you’d sooner die alone than go to another speed dating event: It’s time that you thought seriously about working with a matchmaker. Not just any matchmaker, the BEST matchmaker. TheRealMatchmaker.com

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!